Good and positive news that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched Saudi Arabia’s master plan for the historical area AlUla’s sustainable development.
‘The Journey Through Time’ plan will see AlUla developed over three phases, which upon full completion in 2035 it is hoped will create nearly 40,000 new jobs and contribute some SAR120bn to the Saudi economy.
The development plan envisions five districts (the AlUla Old Town, Dadan, Jabal Ikmah, Nabataean Horizon, and Hegra Historical City) spread across 20km, each serving as a ‘waypoint’ on the Journey Through Time’. Each will serve as a cultural landmark offering unique experiences for visitors to the Kingdom. The plan encompass hotel rooms, exclusive lodges and canyon farms, as well as museums, galleries, and cultural centres; as well as proposed bicycle, equestrian, and pedestrian trails, and a historical tramway connecting AlUla’s International Airport to the five districts.
Importantly, there is also a local community focus, through new community-driven services, amenities, cultural and educational facilities and a focus on promoting the development of local tourism, cultural and agricultural economies for AlUla.
Such an initiative not only reinforces and consolidates Saudi Arabia’s leisure, tourism and hospitality diversification and related Vision 2030 Saudization plans, but also complement’s The Kingdom’s Scientific Centre for Research and Studies of the Northwest Civilizations, which is envisioned to be a global hub for archaeological studies knowledge and research, dedicated to the region, encompassing such as the ancient kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan and the Nabataeans, who built the city of Hegra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And to further complement these initiatives, there is the Saudi Green Initiative, which will support the regeneration of AlUla through the rehabilitation of the land, the reversal of desertification, a major expansion of AlUla’s green and open spaces and large areas being designated as nature reserves.
This is a bold, brave and visionary move in KSA, which is to be recommended.